dave6v

Harbeth XD range

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Harbeth consolidated their range a while back, updating all models to ‘’XD’’ (Extra Definition). 

But...

  1. The prices?! The P3esr is now nearly £2,500, the 30.2 £4,200. Are the improvements really reflective of that?
  1. Does this XD (extra definition) indicate that Harbeth may end up straying from what many appear to love about them, a warm, natural and non-fatiguing sound, to a brighter, more modern sound? 

Probably pointless me saying the above, as I’ve not even listened to Harbeths 😃 (but am certainly keen to), but it would be interested to see if anyone else has a view on them, compared to models of old? 

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My personal to experience of the P3esr vs. the Anniversary edition reflects this (b). The latter were beguiling in terms of transparency and openness, but I preferred the vanilla version. Not night and day mind. And a different speaker though I've read there's little difference in sound, though of course have no experience of this.

Anyway, I'll always chip in on a Harbeth thread 😉

Edited by Ian

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Super Wammer

Did this thread a while ago

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Ever since Alan Shaw declared (and I'm paraphrasing here) that "well-designed amplifiers make no difference to the sound" I've had absolutely no desire to listen to any of his speakers.

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I had p3esr 40th for a year or so which are meant to be very similar to the xd version. I’ve not heard the standard version but based on how people describe them I guess the characteristics of my current proac tablette 10 lie somewhere in between the two. I don’t believe the price hike for the xd is worth it, as frankly the price difference between p3esr and tab 10 isn’t worth it. In many areas I actually much prefer the tab 10. Maybe xd p3esr sound like tab 10s :) 

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Super Wammer
14 minutes ago, HugoZ said:

Ever since Alan Shaw declared (and I'm paraphrasing here) that "well-designed amplifiers make no difference to the sound" I've had absolutely no desire to listen to any of his speakers.

Unfortunately this is true. I can assure anyone that the choice of amp makes a clear difference to any speakers let alone Harbeth. 
BTW, he doesn’t own a system in his house and doesn’t like amps being mentioned on the Harbeth forum as he has a ‘definitive’ list. 
 

We all know that any amp will work with Harbeth (like any) but you would be a fool to think they sound the same. 

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27 minutes ago, HugoZ said:

Ever since Alan Shaw declared (and I'm paraphrasing here) that "well-designed amplifiers make no difference to the sound" I've had absolutely no desire to listen to any of his speakers.

I've never really understood this statement either but I still love his speakers 😁. I dug a bit deeper by reading the HUG forum but nodded off !

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Super Dealer
35 minutes ago, HugoZ said:

Ever since Alan Shaw declared (and I'm paraphrasing here) that "well-designed amplifiers make no difference to the sound" I've had absolutely no desire to listen to any of his speakers.

Absolutely correct, he should of perhaps added,’ low distortion solid state amps which are capable of properly driving the loudspeaker’, obviously a highly distorting SET will certainly 

sound different.

Keith

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14 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

Absolutely correct, he should of perhaps added,’ low distortion solid state amps which are capable of properly driving the loudspeaker’, obviously a highly distorting SET will certainly 

sound different.

Keith

He does not like users pairing his ‘so well designed’ speakers with tube amps. Been there on this with him at HUG. This is basically what he said. He’s getting way too opinionated and cranky.

Go to HUG, say new user, want to get opinions on best tune amp to pair it with ... it will be a blast at HUG.

So no more Harbeth for me despite owning 3 pairs. Found better speakers that cost the same or less.

@dave6v ... if you like the Harbeth, then go for it. The new Rogers Classic series is not cheap anyways. Neither are the Fancon Gold badge.

There’s a slight difference in sound. As stated above, not night and day.

I love the look of the P3ESR 40th but I settled for the standard one. It all depends on what you prefer. XD is a marketing tool. How does a company that prides itself in manufacturing the most natural voice reproduction now have Extended Definition? 🙄

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My view was that the term XD didn't really align with the heritage of the brand. However, it's not my business, both in terms of expressing my two pennorth and literally. 

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1 hour ago, dave6v said:

Does this XD (extra definition) indicate that Harbeth may end up straying from what many appear to love about them, a warm, natural and non-fatiguing sound, to a brighter, more modern sound?

It's (probably) just a new marketing label, think of it as M30.3, SHL5+ mk3, M40.4, etc.

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There is a similar thread on another forum lately(Audiogon) and two posters mentioned they listened to both P3ESR and the XD and preferred the former for its natural presentation. They felt that the older or original model of the P3ESR sounded better. A Harbeth dealer on the forum defended the XD version saying it's better and an improved model. 

I have no more interest with the new XD models or whatever Harbeth will be coming in the future as the price keeps going up and up. The old models still sound great and if you want something different or better, there are many other options around.

Edited by ryder
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Super Wammer
1 hour ago, ryder said:

There is a similar thread on another forum lately(Audiogon) and two posters mentioned they listened to both P3ESR and the XD and preferred the former for its natural presentation. They felt that the older or original model of the P3ESR sounded better. A Harbeth dealer on the forum defended the XD version saying it's better and an improved model. 

I have no more interest with the new XD models or whatever Harbeth will be coming in the future as the price keeps going up and up. The old models still sound great and if you want something different or better, there are many other options around.

I’ve not heard the XD in any guise, but it seemed to me like a way to ‘add value’ both for the consumer and Harbeth’s profits, following the success of the 40th anniversary models.  As most of their sales are overseas there’s clearly a market for premium products of all types, and the slight crossover tweaks that AS has made probably offer a more modern take which buyers like.  

Personally, I could see a benefit in offering a couple of the smaller models in unimproved versions at a lower price point, but whether there’s actually a demand I cannot say.  As Harbeth have had a record year they must be pleasing a lot of listeners.  

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I'm sure that Harbeth internationally will sell as many speakers at the higher price, and thus boost their profits. They are a business after all, not a charitable company for hi fi people and Alan Shaw has a new electric Mercedes to run according to HUG.

I actively sought a pair of the original P3ESR's recently, rather than the XD version as I thought the XD would have too much treble for me.

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10 hours ago, HugoZ said:

Ever since Alan Shaw declared (and I'm paraphrasing here) that "well-designed amplifiers make no difference to the sound" I've had absolutely no desire to listen to any of his speakers.

I too have lost a great deal of respect for Alan Shaw since he announced that he listened to music backwards to evaluate his speakers - WTF? (26:50 on the video)

I do still rate the speakers but take many comments with a large pinch of salt.

Edited by Funkpig
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